Apple, you should learn from 3 in the UK for your iPhone: Unlimited Skype phone calls

Looks like 3, the cell phone operator in the UK who has a complete 3G network and who is also fighting for market share against giants such as Vodafone, is ready to change a little their business model. I recently found that their new 3 X-Series will provide unlimited Skype calls from their cell phone network “for free” (e.g. included in the price-plan), in addition to many interesting services.

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This offering comes with a Nokia E65 phone that is powered by the Symbian OS. The phone will cost you GBP 49.99 (about US$100 / EUR 75) if you sign an 18 month contract, and the monthly subscription ranging from GBP 40 to 45 per month depending on the options you want. In addition to over 300 minutes of phone calls in the UK and 150+ text messages, this monthly charge includes, according to their web site, unlimited international calling with Skype, as well as support for streaming from a Slingbox or Orb for example. There is a “fair-use” policy in place, which allows for 1Gb of data per month to be transfered (for web surfing), as well as 5000 minutes of Skype calls or 80 hours of Orb and Slingbox streaming. Not sure how that would apply when roaming outside of the UK, but that would have certainly covered my expected usage… and would have made me switch to their service if only I was still living in England: Rogers, please, please, get inspired :-)

An more importantly than Rogers or Bell in Canada, Apple, can you please look at this and make it a standard offer part of your iPhone? As mentioned before, one of the main reasons why I don’t expect to buy an iPhone when available is because of the “phone” capabilities which rely only on the traditional cellular network. Thank you in advance!

3 thoughts on “Apple, you should learn from 3 in the UK for your iPhone: Unlimited Skype phone calls”

  1. Fair use? Service providers using this term makes me chuckle. Fair use for whom? My phone now generates about 2 GB of traffic per month, just over GPRS. So a limit to 1 GB/month for a 3G service for sure doesn’t look very “fair” to me.

    Alex

  2. 2Gb a month??? You know there are computers to surf the web with a larger screen :-) The Fair Use policies have been the norm in UK ISPs for a while now and was one of the main reasons why I switched to another plan when living there.

  3. I listen to podcasts from my phone. I have Nokia, so I run the Nokia Podcasting application. So most of the bandwidth is used by Nokia Podcasting.

    Let’s say you listen to radio 1h a day. At about 35 MB per hour, that makes ~1 GB per month. But you’re not going to listen to everything. Just like with blogs, you’re not reading every word of every blog you are subscribed to. Sometimes you’ll just hit “next” and go to the next one. Assume you listen to half of what gets downloaded: you are at 2 GB/month.

    I only expect this figure to go up as we become more selective: more choice means we are more likely to hit that “next” button. And then there are the video podcasts coming. Some of the most popular podcasts on iTunes are already video podcasts today.

    Note that most of this traffic happens during the night. Nokia Podcasting is setup to go check feeds and do its downloading at something like 1am. Also speed or reliability is not that important. It has all the night to do its downloading, and if a download is interrupted, it will just continue it later. All of this is done automatically by the phone and as user you don’t have (and most likely don’t want) to worry about it.

    Alex

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